Okay so I decided you just all would have to hear the story of my weekend. Sorry but this won't be some loving story about nature and how its effected me...more a bit of a thriller story instead. I went down to Lune River with the study abroad group. We were going to go kayaking, caving, and hiking. I didn't want to do the caving because it was $25 AUD and I just wasn't too excited about crawling through a cave that might have spiders! So since I was bailing on that I basically got split up from all my friends who were there and went on the activities on opposite days of them all. But let's see now...how much fun we had.
On Saturday we all rose early in the morning and my group set out to go Kayaking. Now I know how to paddle a kayak and all and how to steer (I have experience from the high school pool :-) ) But besides me, Shawna, and Sarah the only other person who had experience was the leader Giselle. So everything is going great. We get down the river and we cross the entrance to a bay and pull up on these pebbly beach for lunch. It's nice out and relaxing although my arms were getting a bit sore. Then we begin to see the dark gray clouds rolling in so we decide its time that we should head back. So we all get in our kayaks or canoes and begin to head back. A little ways out the wind starts picking up, we are going against the current and the waves start getting bigger. I'm getting drenched as the rain starts pouring down and we are fighting our way across the bay. Hard part was where we wanted to go was straight across but we would have to go parallel to the waves and anyone who knows anything about kayaking knows this is not what you want to do. You want to be heading into the waves or else you'll begin rocking with the waves and taking in water. So Giselle, me and my partner, and Sarah and Shawna all make it across the bay.
Drenched and out of breath but glad we are across. Then we look back to see where the other two Kayaks are. The other two girls were stuck going in circles and getting pushed farther and farther away and we can't see the guys anywhere. Then Giselle notices they pulled up on shore. So we send Sarah and Shawna up on the shore we are on to go find help.
We kept waiting and nothing was happening and we were still watching the girls struggling away. Giselle was getting really worried since she was the leader and she didn't know what to do and we were too far away if for some reason they capsized. So her and I climbed into Shawna and Sarah's Kayak and took off to get to the girls and at least give them better paddles and make sure they guys were okay. We struggle back through the wind and waves and all (not too bad of waves only about a foot and a half but enough to be a bit nerve racking). We get to the girls and switch paddles with them and then we head onto the shore to find the guys. They had pulled over because one of them is a complete baby and was scared that he was going to capsize.
So we get the girls to shore and then one of the guys and I set out to see if we can find a road. We are just making our own way through the bush climbing over falling trees and walking through mud. We found a little hut but there was no one there so we started up the driveway which we realized was going to be way too long of a walk. So we headed back to find Giselle and the girls. Meanwhile they were just sitting there trying to figure out what to do because we had no idea if Shawna and Sarah had managed to get help.
We needed to get across the bay and even once we did that we were still an hour or more down the river and it was going to start getting dark in about two hours. I was chilled to the bone and drenched with water that was about 11 degrees Celsius or that would be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The girls were too tired and didn't have enough strength to get across the bay and the one guy refused to get back in his canoe and he was freaking out. He kept saying we were all going to capsize if went across and we should make a bonfire and we were all going to freeze to death. So Giselle and I finally decide we definitely need to get back across the river because we knew they were at least two other girls besides Shawna and Sarah sitting over there. So we wanted to taxi the girls across and then we were going to come back for the guys and each of us taxi the guys back. But that one guy kept whining and complaining.
But luckily enough just as we were about to taxi the girls across a rescue boat showed up. We had been there for over an hour. so we pulled the kayaks and canoes way up on shore and got in the boat and headed across the bay upon which I got even more drenched. I was dripped wet and exhausted from all the energy it had taken to row back and forth across the bay with all the waves. We got dropped off on shore and all headed up to some lady's house. (where Shawna and Sarah had managed to get a ride back to the hostel and find us help) This lady went to take the rest of us back to the rental place but her Winnebago was stuck in the mud so we all had to push it.
We finally made it back to the hostel. We had to walk through the common room and all the other people from the other group were sitting there. They said we made such a funny sight because we all walked single file through the room with our heads down and we were all covered in mud and soaking wet. My friend Lisa came and helped me try to take my clothes off and find warm clothes because my legs and arms were cramping from being so cold and wet. I bundled up in a wool sweater, and Ben's jacket and Damian made me a cup of tea and then I cuddled among everyone on the couch for the body heat to warm me up. I've been cold but never chilled to the bone like that.
But all is well now and I only have a slight cough and sniffle and my body managed to warm back up...so no worries:-) And Giselle kept thanking me and calling me one of the heroes of the rescue team. She said she was so happy I had been there with her because I kept calm and was willing to help in a second and she didn't know what she would have done if she had to deal with it all on her own. the guy who held us up because he wouldn't get back in his canoe whined and complained about everything else that weekend too! The next day the hostel owner had to go back and tow all the kayaks and canoes back up the river to the rental place. That was my experience. Some of the girls were taking pictures when we got to land to show how drenched we were but the last thing I wanted to do was pose for a picture so sorry, you'll just have to imagine what I looked like...all drenched and windblown. That was the exciting part of my weekend.
I went hiking down to the most southern tip of Tassie yesterday. It was a 14k hike with return but it was nice. The next piece of land out there would have been Antarctica. So that was cool to get the chance to do that but I managed to strain and bruise my ankle. The traumas of my life! :-)now I am nice and warm and relaxed and glad I have such interesting story to write home about;-)
Hope you are all enjoying yourselves! Take care and I miss you all. I'll be in CT in four weeks! Yeah! Smiles from me :-) :-) :-)and hugs.